Never too early to plan for next winter

Winter’s over. Are you enjoying the warm days of spring and forgetting the winter woes? It’s never too early to correct that which plagued you during the cold months.
Steps can be taken to weatherize your home. Many older homes have windows and doors that are not air tight and allow chilly drafts. Spring is a good time to get estimates on replacement windows and make a decision.
The IRS allows income tax credits on replacement windows, heating and cooling systems up to a total of $1,500.
Most modern heating and systems, whether gas, electric or fuel-oil fed, are designed for energy efficiency. If you are considering updates, lists of eligible tax credits can be found at the Internal Revenue Web site.
How about problems with pipes freezing in crawl spaces? There are ways to avoid the big expense of replacing broken water pipes. Heat tapes and additional insulation will do the trick in most cases. Decide what you need, buy it soon, have it installed or do it yourself on a warm summer day.

One creative solution is to relocate problem pipes to a heated area of the house. Since air is warmer near ceilings, it makes sense to locate them there. A decorative enclosure may be constructed from finished one-by-four lumber and made to match the room’s decor. Fastening the enclosure with wood screws rather than nails allows access to pipes for any future repairs.
Another innovation in plumbing is a plastic pipe known as Pex, a semi-rigid conduit connected with crimped brass fittings.
So plan to button up your home this summer. If you get a jump-start on Old Man Winter, he won’t get the upper hand when it’s cold outside.

Warm ups for winter sports

The American Chiropractic Association says outdoor activities can cause problems if you aren’t in condition, especially if you don’t warm up first.
* Skiing: Do 10 to 15 squats with knees aligned over feet, a shoulder’s width apart. Slowly bend your knees.
* Skating: Do several lunges. Let your back knee come down to the floor if you can, while keeping shoulders over hips.
*Sledding/tobogganing: Stretching may prevent compression injuries caused by frequent bouncing over snow. Sitting or lying down, pull your knees to your chest and hold 30 seconds.
* Shoveling snow: Not actually a sport, but many people do it for fun or necessity. Do warm-up stretching before you start, especially for your shoulders, upper and lower back, and legs. When shoveling, bend your knees to lift. Let your legs and arms do the work.